The War Within

It is no surprise, then, to find that Muslims see the secularism of westerners and western Christians in particular, not as a promise of a better and more enlightened life, but as a threat to their religion and culture. And our response has often been a flight from faith driven by the specious "wisdom" that religion kills. Hence a commemorative celebration at Ground Zero scrubbed clean of any religious voices and—as a result—robbed of any capacity to comprehend what happened on that day.

The events of 9/11 can be and must read in a very different fashion: If we are to face the future with wisdom, understanding, and courage, then the best way for those of us who are not "soldiers and cops" to respond is to live more authentically Christian lives. We can no longer hide behind first responders; the war has come to our streets. And if we expect to weather that war, then—with solemn resolve—we need to reclaim our faith, allowing it to shape the way in which we see the world and the way in which we live in it. If we fail to address that task, then the confusion and failure of nerve that follows will be of our own making.

And it will be clear at last, the war is within.

9/11/2011 4:00:00 AM
  • Progressive Christian
  • The Spiritual Landscape
  • 9/11
  • Christopher Hitchens
  • Evil
  • Karl Menninger
  • Language
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  • Frederick Schmidt
    About Frederick Schmidt
    Frederick W. Schmidt is the author of The Dave Test: A Raw Look at Real Life in Hard Times (Abingdon Press: 2013) and several other books, including A Still Small Voice: Women, Ordination and the Church (Syracuse University Press, 1998), The Changing Face of God (Morehouse, 2000), When Suffering Persists (Morehouse, 2001), in Italian translation: Sofferenza, All ricerca di una riposta (Torino: Claudiana, 2004), What God Wants for Your Life (Harper, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Revelation (Morehouse, 2005) and Conversations with Scripture: Luke (Morehouse, 2009). He holds the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, and directs the Job Institute for Spiritual formation. He is an Episcopal Priest, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, conference leader, writer, and Consulting Editor at Church Publishing in New York. He and his wife, Natalie live in Chicago, Illinois. He can also be reached at: